What’s the best route from Denver to Chicago?

I live in Denver and will be driving to Chicago to visit family in the summer. I’m not opposed to making stops along the way, but I’m not sure what the best driving route is—can you help?

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Answer provided by
Andrea Barrett
Answered on May 12, 2022
Stopping to see sights along the interstates and highways is one of the best parts of road-tripping! The best route from Denver to Chicago is via I-80 and I-76 which offers incredible scenery and some pretty epic attractions. The drive takes about 14 hours and 31 minutes and covers 1,005 miles.
Here’s how to get there:
  • Get on I-25 N from W Colfax Ave
  • Merge onto I-25 N
  • Take exit 216A-216B for I-76 W/I-76 E/Grand Jct/70th Ave toward Fort Morgan
  • Continue on Exit 216A, follow signs for I-76 E/Ft Morgan, and merge onto I-76 E
  • Merge onto I-80 E
  • Stay on I-80 E, follow signs for I-35 S/Kansas City/I-35 N/Chicago/Minneapolis
  • Take exit 4B to merge onto I-88 E/IL-92 E toward Sterling/Rock Falls
  • Merge onto I-290 E
  • Stay on I-290 E and follow signs for I-90/I-94/Kennedy Expy/Wisconsin
While you may be missing the famous sights along Route 66, there’s plenty to check out along this route:
  • Des Moines
  • Platte River State Park
  • Starved Rock State Park
  • Durham Museum
  • Lake McConaughy State Recreation and Wildlife Management Area
  • Pawnee National Grasslands
  • Amana colonies
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